My dear friend Tricia turned 40 on Tuesday.  At her surprise party, we were supposed to roast/toast her.  I wondered, “How do you narrow down to one anecdote when you’ve known someone so long?”  I decided you don’t.  After all, our friendship spans 19 years, 8 foreign countries, and 4 degrees.  That’s much more than a sound byte.

I always wanted to travel across the U.S., and write the modern-day version of Travels with Charley, except my title sidekick would be Tricia, instead of an oversized prize poodle.  That journey never happened, but many others have — probably enough to fill a book of my own.  So, with apologies to Steinbeck, here’s my roasty toast.  Lessons learned through Travels with Tricia (in chronological order):

  1. Spain – it’s ok to pick up boys, but only if you find some for the other guapas.
  2. Portugal – it’s ok to use the fish knife for your butter, as long as you do it with a smile, then can-can down the stairs of a palace with Maureen.
  3. France – it’s ok to use your friend for personal gain, especially in the case of French pastries.
  4. England – it’s ok to drive on the left side of the road. Just remember the golden rule of stick shift driving: The driver may sing but the driver may not dance!
  5. Ireland – it’s ok to pick up hitchhikers, but only if they’re Irish octogenarians on their way home from paying off cattle debts. It is NEVER ok to pick up your Guinness from the bar before the bartender has finished the multi-step pouring process that is distinctly Guinness
  6. Germany – it’s ok to yell at the train conductor, but only if you’re standing on train seats and pointing to your luggage.
  7. Italy – It’s ok to ogle the Italians. Oh, wait, that was me. It’s ok to tell your friend, “I love traveling with you, but damn, Venice is so romantic, I wish I were with a boyfriend.”
  8. Argentina – It’s ok to let your friend horn-in on your family vacation.

Here’s to many more years, lots more adventures, and NO more degrees.


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